Saturday, 19 July 2014

Ardrossan Rocks

A magazine feature from a few years ago, was the inspiration for the road trip to Ardrossan.  We were in search of a rock garden.

Ardrossan wasn't far away, but with properties not on the grid system and seeming not addressed, we relied on the owners' directions: Turn at the white fence... the road will curve right... Until our caravan was properly lost.  But could it be that house peeking through those trees?

Yes!  Who could have guessed just passed those trees would be a garden oasis with waterfalls, whimsical and great sculptures, and most of all, incredible rocks!

It was hard to capture the scale of this private garden -- and at every turn there was something delightful. (See more photos here.)

The owners' gave us a tour and welcomed our questions, even revealing the sources for many of their rocks and sculptures. But before the Club could plan a trip to local rock quarries (or down south to Arizona and Mexico), we were told it would be harder now to attempt to recreate the same.  Quarries have closed, others have changed their pricing, and petrified wood is just no longer available (by government regulation).

Now most of us wouldn't have the space or grand vision to create the same, but I think we all left this garden thinking how we'd want to add some rock stars to ours.

The field trip continued with lunch at Katie's Crossing.  The old rail train turned restaurant featured a small menu of burgers, fish and chips, and baked beans.  Some of our members, though, decided to start with dessert (ice cream) first.

We then made a short stop at UnBoutiqued.  The clothing store definitely had some interesting items, but outside there was a flower bed that needed weeding...

Find Johanne's write-up "A Rock Garden that will Amaze You" here.

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Buzz at YEG

The City of Edmonton has started an Urban Beekeeping pilot project!

Special permission is being granted to a select number to keep beehives in their backyard. 

Interested in helping out our buzzing friends and ensuring we all have plenty of pollinators? Check out the details and apply at the City of Edmonton's webpage.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Sweet or Sour Soil?

Blueberry leaves yellowing?  Hydrangea blooms not returning true to colour?  One possible reason for such woes might be soil pH.

Plants have different ideal conditions for growth and different ranges of comfort.

The Old Farmer's Almanac and West Virginia University lists over a hundred plants each indicating their optimal growth pH and is a probably a good place to start to see if your troubled plant likes sweet (alkaline / basic) or sour (acidic) soil.

Audrey shared as last night's meeting that she performed a simple pH test on her soil with vinegar and baking soda.  About Money "Frugal Living Expert" Erin Huffstetler outlines a similar test here, step-by-step.

While this DIY is nowhere as accurate or precise as a home kit or sending samples away to a lab, it may help eliminate one possible problem and/or point you in the right direction.

Now, how to adjust soil pH?  That's another story!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Weeding and Wine - July's Meeting

Lori, Janice, Audrey, Debbie, Erica, Lana, Laurel, Gisele, and Johanne weeded away in the community hall garden yesterday, as the sky threatened rain.  
Our massive clean out of bags and buckets of weeds filled Debbie's truck!

The bees seemed indifferent to all our hardwork.  But we basked in after-weeding glow, knowing our  garden had a bit more order and some room to breathe. 
The meeting continued at the gazebo with treats and wine.  We shared some gardening tips and continued to plan for our late summer event.  Stay tuned!